Winter Break and Holiday Crime Prevention Tips

The Department of Public Safety wishes each student, faculty and staff member a safe and peaceful holiday season. To make the best of your holiday break, we have prepared a safety checklist to aide you while away from your apartment or house. Take a moment to browse through these tips.

If you are leaving for the break,

  • Avoid leaving your vehicle packed overnight with your luggage and other personal items.
  • Make sure you lock your room doors and remove all portable items from your vehicle, such as, coins, and CD’s from plain sight.
  • Use electronic timers for your interior lights, stereos, or televisions while you are away. This would give the illusion that someone is at home. Or,
  • Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
  • Keep your bicycle in your room during the holidays while you are away from home. USC Housing welcomes you to keep your bicycle in your room while you are away for the holiday.
  • When leaving home for an extended time, have a trusted friend watch your house and have newspaper and mail delivery suspended.

If you are staying for the break,

  • Do not let anyone into your building you do not know. Avoid piggybacking as much as possible.
  • Use electronic timers for your interior lights, stereo, or television while you are away from your apartment for extended amount of time.
  • Most televisions and cable or satellite TV providers provide options to set program timers to turn your sound and picture on while away. Check your menu settings or service providers to learn more about these features.
  • Avoid leaving doors propped open, especially exterior gates.
  • Avoid leaving valuable property in plain view inside your vehicle.
  • If you see something, say something. Report suspicious persons or activity immediately to DPS UPC (213) 740-4321, HSC (323) 442-1000 or LAPD (911). Program these numbers into your cell phone or send us a text using the LiveSafe Mobile App.
  • For escorts after 5pm to 6am in the USC community, call DPS at (213) 740-6000.

Burglary is a Crime of Opportunity

  • Burglars aim for the easiest targets.
  • Thieves generally enter through an unlocked door or window.
  • Most burglars will give up and move on if they cannot get in quickly.
  • Most auto burglaries occur when valuable items are visible.
  • Most thieves will pass over vehicles without valuable items in view.

Automated Teller (ATM)

  • If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located on campus, at a mall, or a well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.
  • Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.
  • Avoid using the ATM in the late evening. Plan your day so you will not be forced to use it during night hours.

Be Aware of Charity Scams
Many good-willed individuals express their generosity by giving to those less fortunate. As such, the winter months also present the opportunity for scam artists to take advantage of the kindness and compassion of others. When giving, remember to use your head, as well as your heart. The Better Business Bureau offers additional information about what to avoid. To learn more, visit